by Joe Evans
In June, we participated in a demo of Evinrude’s new iDock multi-engine joystick maneuvering system at a clandestine event in Stuart, Fl. A gaggle of publishers, ad salesmen and a few writers from around the globe gathered to test the new system and see how it fits into Evinrude’s campaign to enhance the boating experience. Evinrude techs rigged the systems on a Scout 255 LXF with twin 200s and a Bennington 27QSR pontoon with twin 300s and cut us loose to try them out.
Evinrude’s Intelligent Piloting System features integrated dynamic power steering (iSteer), switchable auto trim (iTrim), digital shift and throttle (iControl), and a mobile display interface (iLink). iDock brings it together as if by magic with a simple joystick control, which uses a gyroscope to compensate for wind and current influences while connecting to the digital engine controls and internal hydraulic steering system to independently manage engine thrust, pull and angle to hold heading, position, direction and speed. What this means to the skipper is—she can easily hold position, pivot, ease forward, back or even sideways, and slide the boat into an eggshell docking maneuver with two fingers on the joystick and a sandwich in the other hand. It’s easier than mastering a child’s video game, and it will impress on-looking experts at the tiki bar, which really does matter.
The system works with the newest E-TEC G2 engines from 150- to 300-hp, available this fall. The suggested retail price for the complete package is $6,000 not including installation. The expectation, of course, is new boats will soon come with the system in a prudent move to make boating more fun and accessible. Confident boaters are happy owners.
This is not a steering option for high speed maneuvers. But, for low-speed situations such as holding position over a hot fishing spot, waiting for marina traffic to clear and for docking, it’s a dream.
Chesapeake Bay Magazine tried it, and we like it. www.evinrude.com